So, everyone from my group got sent to the interior but me! I’m stuck in the city zone, but we actually live pretty far from the city, like on the edge close to the beach, in a town called San Francisco. Our proselyting area is even further away in a small town called Panama Viejo, which is filled with ruins of super old buildings. The houses are built with cinderblocks and have tin roofs, which is normal for Panama. I was super bummed to be in the city, at first, but it doesn’t even feel like the city here. Sometimes we have to go to the real city though, like now to email, and I don’t like that very much.
The streets here are crazy. There’s literally no rules, so everyone drives super-fast, and they cut people off, and honk a ton. That basically means your changing lanes. But the good thing is we can cross the street whenever and wherever we want, and when there’s five of us and we need to take a cab, we don’t have to wear seatbelts. It’s perfect.
My companion is Elder Gonzalez and he’s from El Salvador. He’s awesome, and he only speaks Spanish, so I have to as well, except he talks super-fast…like beyond fast. At least I can understand him, though. Literally these people do not speak Spanish here. They speak Panamanian. Like usually its "como estas,” but to them its "com ta.” So I couldn’t talk for the first few days but I’m starting to get it now.
Elder Gonzalez and I live with the three secretaries, Elder Taylor 1, Taylor 2, and Broadhead. It’s nice to live with some Americans, too, so that we can speak English when they are home sometimes.
The people here are a little different than I imagined. I thought everyone would look Mexican, and a lot of them do look Latino, but there are also a lot of black and oriental people. It is strange to see them speaking Spanish. Also, I was told there were a lot of white people here too, but I haven’t seen any yet, and I’ve been all over this town. There are also a lot of Kuna Indians in our ward, so I’m trying to learn that language too. I want them to send me to San Blas as soon as possible!
The heat and humidity is as bad as they say. I am always hot and sweaty, but everyone else is too, so it’s okay.
Our area is super fun. Somehow everyone is always home, and out it the streets talking to neighbors, and usually drinking beer. And people spend ridiculous amounts of money on sound systems here so the whole neighborhood can hear them.
Yesterday was kinda fun. Gonzalez and I were walking and some people called us up to their porch. My companion was talking to one of them, and I was talking to the other, who kept asking my name over and over again, and then said he wanted to fight me, but that he wouldn’t because his grandmother was there. (I think they had been drinking.) Don’t worry, I felt super safe, though, partly because I’m a foot taller than everyone here, but mostly because I am a missionary.
Later we went to the city where they had just had a parade and everyone was just sitting around waiting for fireworks. So we met up with 6 other missionaries and went up to groups of people and asked if we could sing Christmas songs for them. And everyone was super stoked for that so we did, then we´d say who we were then give everyone pass along cards. So we had over 300 contacts last night which is huge.
So everything is awesome. My comp said that we never eat with members but every night I’ve been here we have, so I guess I’m good luck. And food is super cheap, otherwise. There are little stores called “Chinos” that all have funny names starting with "Mini Super". Like Mini Super Fruteria, Mini Super San Fernando, and my fav so far, Mini Super Magic Pan (Bread).
These computers suck and the keyboard is different and so frustrating, so I’ll end here.
Here are a few pictures...
|Here are some pictures of our apartment.|
|We eat pretty good sometimes (above)|
And not so good other times (below)